Fat City by Leonard Gardner - a book recommendation (1 Viewer)

i think bukowski fans will love this novel. here is my review:

small book. tough read. i had seen the john huston-stacey keach-jeff bridges movie around 6 months ago and liked it a lot. i read the novel over the weekend. its about the boxing scene in stockton, california - described through the lives of two boxers, their lovers and their common trainer. its an incredibly sad novel about the ups and downs (mostly downs) in the boxers lives - as they grapple with all the bad luck, the women, ennui and sloth. the characters were extremely fatalistic, seemingly unable to conquer the devil inside their minds or conquering it for a short while before it starts working on them again.

"..... they succumbed to whatever in them was the weakest, and often it was nothing he could even define", ruben the trainer tells himself about the boxers he has trained.

sex is an important part of the novel. one of the boxers, billy tully cannot seem to get over his wife leaving him. a succession of relationships with other women (including one spiritually wounding affair with an alcoholic woman) does not allow him to forget his wife whom he loved dearly. even when he tries to revive his flagging boxing career, it is in the hope that he can win his wife back. the other boxer, ernie munger is deeply insecure about his new wife after the arrival of her former lover in the small town. maybe the writer was trying to describe the boxers psyche in that the possession of a woman was very important for these guys. it was something that helped them define their masculinity. any doubt regarding their ability to keep their women, derailed them and would lead to alcoholism, bar fights and indiscipline (with regard to their career).

another important aspect of the novel is the description of the landscape. its excellent. i love american novels like these with descriptions of gas stations, small town bars, long empty roads, side streets, orchards, barren fields and levees. there is something very idyllic yet bleak and slothful about these landscapes.

leonard gardner wrote just this one novel. thats a real shame.
 

mjp

Founding member
"..... they succumbed to whatever in them was the weakest, and often it was nothing he could even define", ruben the trainer tells himself about the boxers he has trained.
Fancy words for a boxing trainer. Maybe he was a philosopher slash boxing trainer.

Hack writing, like every screenwriter's wise-beyond-her-years 8 year old, who makes mom and dad realize how they are hurting the family through her deep, insightful monologues.

0/10
 
i would have agreed with you (sort of) if the line i quoted was an actual dialog. but it was a THOUGHT. you think boxing trainers are incapable of having deep and insightful thoughts about the men they train? what a ridiculous argument. and have you even read the book? if you haven't, how do you know the boxing trainer was not an MA in english literature who coached boxers part time? i'm not saying thats how the character is in the novel. but how do you know, if you havent read it?makes your argument even more ridiculous.

and you passed judgment on a writer based on half a line? hilarious!0/10 based on half a line? hahaha!
 
it could still be literature with that kind of a storyline. you have no problems with starting a whole forum for a writer who did all kinds of odd and menial jobs (including that of a post man) but was very very well read and wrote some of the best novels of the last century.

but you dismiss another writer whom you haven't read based on a single line. stop squirming, mjp.
 

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